MassDOT: State’s Traffic Congestion Problem at ‘Tipping Point’
BOSTON — If you drive a vehicle in Massachusetts, you already know how bad the traffic is.
The near-omnipresent congestion on Massachusetts roadways has worsened to the point where access to employment is becoming strained and the state may struggle to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets, according to the results of a long-awaited Baker administration study.
Department of Transportation researchers concluded that, following a steady increase in traffic between 2013 and 2018, the state is at a "tipping point" where many routes are unreliable and delays extend well beyond the traditional rush hours.
Among the key congestion-fighting strategies, researchers said, are to improve capacity and ridership on the MBTA to take cars off the road, boost remote working and telecommuting, cut down on common bottlenecks by expanding roads or improving response to accidents, and generating more housing near transit.
While much of the uptick has been a result of a strengthening economy -- more job openings bring more people to the state, who then put more cars on the roads -- the conditions are likely to cause negative economic and environmental impacts, the 157-page report concluded.
"People in Massachusetts don't need this study to confirm what they experience every day: congestion has gone from bad to worse, from occasional inconvenience and frustration to a constant and daily reality," Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack wrote in a letter introducing the report.
The report, ordered in August 2018 when Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed a bill to implement a congestion-pricing pilot, concluded that a multi-pronged approach is necessary to address growing traffic. Baker and Pollack are scheduled to discuss the report's findings Thursday morning.